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Health & Wellness




Runners: Prep for the climate. Page 2. New shingles vaccine is better. Page 4. How to develop healthy habits. Page 7. A guide to raising healthy eaters. Page 12. And more.



How to prep for running in different climates By SIMONE SLYKHOUS

stead, consider starting your run early in the morning or after the sun has set to avoid the heat of the day.

Ask most runners their favorite weather for running, and usually the answer will be overcast and cool. According to research from the University of Tulsa that analyzed temperatures during Olympic race times, for long-distance male runners, the optimum temperature is 49.4 degrees, and for long-distance female runners, the optimum temperature is 51.8 degrees. However, what happens when the temperature isn’t optimal? For devoted athletes, rain or shine, snow or sleet, record temps or high altitude, they’re still hitting the pavement. And it’s important for runners to know how best to fuel and clothe their bodies for different climates before lacing up their sneakers. Cold For those running in colder climates, your body is working harder, which requires more calories. That doesn’t mean a freefor-all in the kitchen. Instead, add an extra cup of berries to your morning smoothie, or reach for salmon instead of chicken to add needed fats. If you’re planning on running for more than an hour, snack smart by adding 25 to 30 grams of carbohydrates (chews, gels, sports drinks) every 30 minutes. This will keep the glucose stored in your muscles from depleting. An unexpected effect of cold air is increased urination. When it’s cold, your body tries to keep warm by constricting blood vessels. This causes your blood pressure to rise because there’s less room for the blood to flow. Your kidneys respond to this by pulling excess liquid from your blood, which then fills your bladder. So, plan for some pit stops along your run, and focus on hydration. Keep a water bottle on hand at all times. Reaching for that water bottle should be a gloved hand. As your body constricts blood flow to your extremities, gloves, ear-covering headbands, hats and warm, sweatwicking socks are important additions. Resist the urge to bundle up too much, as your body will heat up once it’s moving. One trick is to dress for weather about 10 to 15 degrees higher than the weather report projects. Hot and humid On the opposite end, running in the dreaded H’s — heat and humidity — presents its own challenges. There can be great rewards, too. Running in the heat lowers your core body temperature; encourages increased sweating, which can keep your body cool; and increases your blood plasma levels, which can lower your heart rate in the long run. Add another H to your vocabulary: hydration. Researchers found that cold water is absorb faster by the body than warm water. So add ice to your water or other fluids before heading out the door. Using an insulated water bottle can keep fluids cooler longer for lengthier runs. High-tech, sweat-wicking fabric that’s not constrictive is also a must. Cotton will retain sweat and humidity and weigh down your run. And never leave home without sunscreen applied, sunglasses affixed and a hat on top. Sport-specific sunglasses are typically much lighter than normal shades and are more likely to follow American Optometric Association recommendations by blocking 99 to 100 percent of both UVA and UVB rays. When running in temperatures hotter than 80 degrees, your heart rate can increase by up to 10 beats

High elevation Training at a higher elevation can have great health benefits. Many Olympic athletes will train at high altitude for increased stamina, strength and red-bloodcell production, and a reduction in body fat percentage. According to most high-performance athletes, high altitude is considered anything 5,000 feet or higher. Though some people feel no difference, others can suffer moderate to severe effects. These can include slower run times due to exhaustion, increased heart rate, decreased amount of oxygen the body can use while burning energy (known as VO2 max) and a heightened chance of dehydration from dry winds and a lack of

humidity. Rather than being surprised at your body’s response while running, plan ahead. Think hydration and protection. The sun can be much stronger, which means sunglasses and sunscreen are a must. Invest in a comfortable cap to protect your face without causing a headache from a too-tight fit. Hydration packs are highly encouraged, and according to Visit Denver, the official marketing agency for the Mile High City, runners should aim to double their usual hydration intake at such high altitudes. No matter the weather, remember that the most important part of exercise is to listen to your body. Take the time to acclimate to new weather conditions or terrain. And give yourself a day off to recover after a long week. Remember, one step at a time.

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Focus on physical and emotional wellness By KRISTEN CASTILLO Have you heard about self-care? Merriam-Webster defines it as “care for oneself,” and the concept of making your physical and emotional wellness a priority is really taking off. It’s not selfish to take care of yourself and your well-being. “Self-care is vitally important because if you don’t take the time to stop and care for yourself, your body will stop you,” says Canadian mental health advocate Mark Henick. “If you never let your foot off the gas, you won’t keep driving forever — you’ll either run out of gas or crash. The same is true for the body and mind.” Henick says self-care is a choice to re-balance your internal resources so you can bounce back from stressors. Loving yourself Self-care can range from taking “me time” breaks in your day or chatting with a friend to taking a soothing bath or crafting. “Often, we posit that self-care is about doing less, but sometimes it is about doing more — at the end of the day, it is about responding to the needs of ourselves before others,” says Darren Pierre, Ph.D., author of “The Invitation to Love.” He says self-care is all about being honest with yourself. “The work is difficult because we can become easily distracted from focusing on ourselves,” Pierre says, urging people to “remain disciplined in the practice of self-care.” Honoring your life “Self-care is choosing to honor your inner wants and needs in order to fulfill your potential,” says Kimberly Hershenson, a therapist specializing in eating disorders, anxiety, depression and relationships. One of her self-care recommendations is to make a daily gratitude list. “Focusing on what is good in your life as opposed to what is ‘going wrong’ helps relieve stress,” says Hershenson, who also suggests reading positive affirmations every morning. Snooze Self-care isn’t necessarily tough to do, but finding the time to take care of yourself can be challenging. “Sleep is one of the best forms of self-care because it gives your body and mind some uninterrupted time to simply repair itself,” says Henick. Write it down Author Carrie Aulenbacher is a busy working mom. She uses journaling as a self-care tool. “Making time to take care of

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me is hard,” she says. “But journaling helps me unload and address issues that affected me but got pushed aside throughout the day.” She says everything ranging from serious writing to doodling to making lists is helpful and counts as journaling. The business of self-care This increased interest in selfcare is a business boom, too. According to the Global Wellness Institute, the global wellness industry is a $3.7 trillion market, including fitness, mind and body; healthy eating, nutrition and weight loss; and spa treatments. That means increased opportunities for consumers to invest in themselves and their wellbeing. The wellness industry features countless self-care options, ranging from buying vitamin infused waters to planning wellness retreat vacations to scheduling fitness classes like yoga, dance and cycling. Scheduling self-care services is easy these days, too. For example, Zeel, the first on-demand massage company, has an app that can bring spa-quality massages directly to you in an hour. A licensed massage therapist will show up with massage table and music, ready to help you relax. Try meditation, too. You can find guided meditations on YouTube or download apps such as “10 Percent Happier.” Calendar item “Schedule self-care time on your calendar,” says Anza Goodbar, a coach, speaker and trainer for entrepreneurs. “If it is not scheduled, it most likely won’t happen.” She suggests starting a selfcare routine in small steps, such as getting up 15 minutes early to start your day with meditation or a quiet cup of coffee. “The bottom line is to be intentional about taking care of yourself through the different stages of life,” Goodbar says. Author, certified life and business coach Celia Ward-Wallace has two steps to self-care: “First, carve out time for yourself in the morning or evening for regular rituals such as exercise, reading, walking, meditation or prayer,” she says. “Second, don’t over-extend yourself. Set healthy boundaries with family, friends and co-workers.”

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Learn to workout comfortably with co-workers By BOB GOLDMAN If there’s one thing that’s worse than working, it’s working out. Think you’re running in place at your job? It’s a lot better than running in place on a treadmill. Feel that impossible deadlines put you in a time crunch? It’s a lot better than doing 200 crunches every morning in your jam-jams. Despite the pain and strain that invariably comes when you throw caution to the wind and actually lift your body off the couch, workers today are expected to spend a significant part of their free time in the gym, preparing to run ultra marathons in the Amazon, bike the Andes, or swim the Hellespont. These days, a promotion requires more than simply being mean; you have to be lean and mean. That’s why the most successful CEOs are pictured in their spandex skivvies, running marathons up and down the Himalayas. This correlation of physical fitness and business success was not always with us.

In the good old days, Diamond Jim Brady and other titans of industry were pictured at Murray’s Roman Gardens, wolfing down lunches of 200 oysters and 10 pounds of rare roast beef, all washed down with a dozen flagons of nut brown ale. Back then, you showed you had a fat wallet by being fat. Today, the business world’s obsession for fitness has gotten so severe that companies actually compete for talent by putting gyms in the workplace. Incredibly, this is considered a perk. And it just may be a perk if you buy into our national obsession with fitness. For someone like you, whose idea of the ultimate perk would be an International House of Pancakes in the parking lot, a gym in the workplace only increases your chances of experiencing the worst fate any wage slave can imagine — seeing your managers and co-workers in the buff. News reporter Dakshana Bascaramurty reported on this phenomenon in the Toronto Globe

and Mail. Her article, “Naked Lunch: How to avoid seeing (too much of) co-workers at the gym” really opened my eyes to why you should close your eyes when going to the gym. “Working out at the office gym can be like navigating a minefield,” Bascaramurty writes. “Grabbing 30 minutes of cardio during a lunch break could lead to uncomfortable work-related conversations with the boss on the next elliptical trainer, or seeing the head of accounting in her birthday suit.” Yes, it’s not only the male of the species who discusses business with their business showing. I can’t say I know this first-hand, but, according to the article, administrative assistant Rachel King has a special problem with women from her department who blow dry their hair “stark naked, standing in front of a mirror.” “I know you,” King reflects when witnessing this disturbing tableau, “so I don’t want to see that much of you wiggle.” Of course, the discomfort in-

creases geometrically when the naked interloper is your boss. You may forget your manager’s blab. The sight of your manager’s flab will be with you forever. Fortunately, work-life author, Julie Jansen, offers four steps to follow to minimize discomfort in a nude encounter. “Say very little, look down, be polite and leave.” (I might slip one more step between being polite and leaving — get dressed.) More advice includes the admonishment to “change at opposite ends of the locker room.” I suggest you go further. Change at the opposite ends of the country. You risk getting arrested for indecent exposure if a policeman finds you changing clothes in the park, but it’s better than getting your 360-degree annual review with a 360-degree view of your manager’s naked butt.


New shingles vaccine more effective By MICHELLE ANDREWS WP News Service Federal officials have recommended a new vaccine that is more effective than an earlier version at protecting older adults against the painful rash called shingles. But persuading many adults to get this and other recommended vaccines continues to be an uphill battle, physicians and vaccine experts say. “I’m healthy; I’ll get that when I’m older” is what adult patients often tell Michael Munger when he brings up an annual flu shot, a tetanus-diphtheria booster or the new shingles vaccine. Sometimes they put him off by questioning a vaccine’s effectiveness. “This is not the case with childhood vaccines,” said Munger, a family physician in Overland Park, Kansas, who is president of the American Academy of Family Physicians. “As parents, we want to make sure our kids are protected. But as adults, we act as if we’re invincible.” The new schedule for adult vaccines for people age 19 and older was published in February following a recommendation by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices and subsequent approval by the director of the CDC. The most significant change was to recommend the shingles vaccine that was approved by the Food and Drug Administration last fall, over an older version of the vaccine. The new vaccine, Shingrix,

should be given in two doses between two and six months apart to adults who are at least 50 years old. The older vaccine, Zostavax, can still be given to adults who are 60 or older, but Shingrix is preferred, according to the CDC. In clinical trials, Shingrix was 96.6 percent effective in adults ages 50 to 59, while Zostavax was 70 percent effective. The differences were even more marked with age: Effectiveness in adults 70 and older was 91.3 percent for Shingrix, compared with 38 percent for Zostavax. Shingrix also provided longer-lasting protection than Zostavax, whose effectiveness waned after the first year. The guidelines suggest that people who already had the Zostavax shot be revaccinated with Shingrix. The two-shot series of Shingrix costs about $280, while Zostavax runs $213. “What’s remarkable (about the new vaccine) is that the high level of immunity persists even in the very old,” said Anne Louise Oaklander, a neurologist who is an expert on shingles. “It’s pretty hard to get the immune system of older people excited about anything.” Shingles is caused by the same varicella zoster virus that causes chickenpox. The virus can reemerge decades after someone recovers from chickenpox, often causing a painful rash that may burn or itch for weeks before it subsides. About 1 in 3 Americans will get shingles during their lifetime; there are roughly a million cases every year. People are more

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likely to develop shingles as they age, as well as develop complications such as postherpetic neuralgia, which can cause severe, longstanding pain after the shingles rash has disappeared. In rare cases, shingles can lead to blindness, hearing loss or death. Although shingles vaccination rates have inched upward in recent years, only a third of adults 60 or older had received the Zostavax vaccine as of 2016. Other adult vaccine coverage rates are low as well: 45 percent for the flu vaccine and 23 percent each for pneumococcal and tetanus-diphtheria-pertussis vaccines. Even if adults want to get recommended vaccines, they sometimes lose track of which they have received and when. Pediatricians routinely report the vaccines they provide to state or city registries that electronically collect and consolidate the information. But the registries are not widely used for adults, who are more likely to get vaccines at various locations, such as a pharmacy or at work.

Finally, Jansen reminds us that we are less likely to have a nude encounter if we “work out during off hours.” This is an idea I endorse. Lunch was never meant to be for exercising, anyway, unless you include high-intensity elbow bending at the Kat Kat Klub. No matter how much you want to head for the hills when meeting a naked manager, you are encouraged to rinse off before you rush off. “You don’t want to be that guy who stinks,” says Bascaramurty. I disagree. Some people may not gossip about the guy who stinks, but everyone will definitely give that guy a wide berth. You may smell up your cubical, and probably your entire floor, but it’s a lot better than schmoozing in the shower with the management team while wearing nothing but a smile.


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By CHELLE CORDERO Kickboxing is a very general term for a growing sport. Kickboxing is a component of mixed martial arts and is only recently gaining popularity on its own merits in the United States; the sport has a big following in many other countries, including Japan and the Netherlands. Some folks, both men and women, start the game for cardiovascular exercise, relaxation and stress relief, coordination and confidence, selfdefense, or for the ultimate thrill of one-on-one competition. It’s a sport that can be enjoyed by both men and women of all ages. Beginners to the sport usually start out with simple activities such as stretches, warmups and eventually throwing jabs at a punching bag. Even experienced participants know they have to begin with warmups, which can include running, lunges and jumping jacks before gloving up and hitting the bag using jabs, hooks, uppercuts, elbow strikes, kicking and kneeing. After several rounds of working with the punching bag, core-strength training and stretching helps to strengthen the body and keep it limber. Marie, a veterinary technician in Maryland, recently started kickboxing lessons after losing a loved one. “I had a lot of anger after losing him and this was a way to channel and direct my anger. I always felt like hitting something and wanted to learn how to do it correctly. I have a wonderful personal trainer who encourages me. We’re also working on strength and core training.” She enjoys her time working out and learning how to punch the bag; she hasn’t yet started the actual kickboxing phase but is looking forward to making that move. “There are a lot of benefits for both body and mind in the kickboxing discipline.” Sheila, an office worker from Los Angeles, has been practicing kickboxing for 20 years. “I’ve done different varieties of kickboxing workouts for the past 20 years, from MMA-style workouts at the IMB Academy to taking cardio kickboxing classes at 24Hour Fitness gyms, and for the past six years I have belonged to the UFC gym. I have done selfdefense, martial arts and cardio kickboxing workouts and now

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Senior Airman Rose Gudex, 21st Space Wing Public Affairs photojournalist, relieves stress through kickboxing at a local gym in Colorado Springs, Colorado. After going through some difficult situations in her life, Gudex turned to fitness as a way to channel frustrations. heavy bag boxing and kickboxing.” She explained why she got involved with the sport: “It’s the workout that I have always loved to do. I am not a long-distance runner, and I get extremely bored on an elliptical machine! The ritual of wrapping your hands, putting boxing gloves on and hitting and kicking a 150-pound bag is my idea of fun!” Kickboxing trainers make the following suggestions for anyone wanting to pursue the sport: ■■ Make sure that you prepare with the right gear for your interest. For sparring, get groin protectors, gloves, shinguards, headgear, and wrist wraps to protect yourself. Basic training requires things like focus mitts and heavy bags. In all cases, have comfortable workout clothes — loose-fitting boxing shorts do very well. ■■ Begin every workout with a warmup and stretches. Concentrate on building your core strength, especially your abdominal muscles. Learn to stand in a fighting stance and keep your head down and tucked. ■■ When sparring, make sure to keep moving to avoid being a target. Keep your body relaxed and breath regular breaths; this will help you to maintain flexibility. ■■ Kickboxing is a high-energy cardio workout that will get your heart pumping. It is also a wonderful way to burn calories and tone your muscles. Unless you

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are already involved in steady cardio exercise, plan a visit with your doctor to make sure have no serious medical issues before you begin, but don’t give up your dream. Work with your doctor and trainer and ease into the program. Remember that kickboxing is a wonderful stress reliever, and that is a terrific benefit. “I am definitely in much better shape when it comes to stamina and conditioning. I’ve developed a lot of upper body strength and strong muscles all over,” says Sheila, who recommends kickboxing to others. “I have recruited many of my friends, as well as my sister, who is now just as addicted as I am. I tell friends how empowering this workout is and to just give it a try.”

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How to prevent wear and tear on knees By JULIA PRICE The knees are the largest joints in the body. They’re also one of the most commonly reported areas of injury. So put on the brakes before breaking into a sweat and consider whether or not your chosen workout has the potential to exacerbate prior injuries, especially if you’ve had knee problems in the past. While you needn’t feel restricted to certain workouts, it’s wise to be mindful of the amount exertion you use and to pay special attention to using correct form. If you’re looking to strengthen the muscles around your knees, Pilates is a great place to start. There are group classes as well as private instruction. The base of the workout is high-intensity and low-impact. Make no mistake: “Low-impact” does not mean “light workout”; Pilates can be some of the toughest training around. Expect to see noticeable changes almost immediately. Your core will get stronger, helping to keep your body in alignment (helpful for keeping proper form in other workouts). Because knee pain often comes from other imbalances in the body, Pilates can help to build symmetrical muscles while also increasing flexibility. Perhaps you want to work out on your own before joining a fitness class or hiring a trainer. You can purchase resistance bands and turn to YouTube for your personal workout guide. The video “5 Resistance Band Exercises for Knee Pain” from Onnit Academy is a great way to start a routine that can help you feel confident about working your way back up to tougher exercises. While many fitness experts advocate the power of squats, if you decide to engage in two- or one-legged lunges or squats, make sure to pay close attention to your body and how it reacts. If you feel even the slightest twinge of pain, do not push yourself. Ease back, and nix that from your plan for now. Pushing through the pain will hurt you immensely in the long run — and the same goes for running. Listen to what your body is telling you. Does running

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Incorrect form during workouts can lead to injuries. Check the mirror to make sure that you’re properly aligned. downhill put stress on your knee, but jogging on a rubber track is perfectly fine? Do what feels good, and avoid what causes pain. A great alternative to running is using an elliptical machine: a no-impact cardio workout in which you can cover long distances using both forward and backward motion. Swimming laps is another great way to get your heart rate up without causing any harm to your body. You can begin to strengthen your hamstrings and quads without the shooting pain that might occur in an overused knee from the impact of running. Stretching is just as important as the workout itself. Whichever stretch you’re engaging in, do not push to go further into the stretch if you feel any discomfort. Instead, keep your focus on longer holds and less straining, allowing yourself to gradually ease more deeply into a position. Yoga can be a great option for a gentle (yet intense) workout. However, classes can bring out a competitive side in all of us, so make sure you aren’t trying to out-stretch your neighbor. Keep your eyes to yourself and your form. Some instructors will try to push their students to go into the stretch more, so talk to your instructor before class. Let him or

her know that you need to keep it light, and they’ll be happy to help you find adjustments for poses that might be too straining. In hot yoga, heated rooms (usually around 80 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit, sometimes hotter) help to keep your body loose and increase flexibility. This is a pro and a con, as it can lead you to feel more flexible than you really are. Be careful, and err on the side of caution. If yoga isn’t your thing, try simple stretches at home. For a standing hamstring stretch, stay balanced by keeping your back to the wall or lightly holding the back of a chair with one hand. Or try a sitting hamstring stretch while watching TV. Fully extend one leg on the couch, toes pointed upward, while keeping the other leg down, foot on the ground. Lean toward the outstretched leg until you feel it in your hamstrings. Keep your core engaged to keep your back straight. Another good option is the leaning wall calf stretch: One foot is closer to the wall; one foot is back. Both legs are straight. Tilt your upper body into the wall, and land your hands on it before alternating sides.

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Best to develop healthy habits 1 step at a time By CHARLYN FARGO Most of us wish there was a magic pill to lose weight, but we all know there is not. To make long-lasting lifestyle changes, we must take small, consistent baby steps. As we gradually change habits, we reach our health and wellness goals. Trying to completely overhaul your lifestyle in a short period of time isn’t sustainable or effective. The first step in forming new healthy habits is to want to change. Try making a list of pros and cons — and make sure the pros outweigh the cons. You may be able to jot down five reasons to exercise, but 10 reasons why you can’t. Keep adding reasons on the pro side. Once you’ve decided to make a change, start with something that is manageable. Instead of pledging to exercise every day, start with 30 minutes today. It’s also important to make it enjoyable. If you like to walk, start with that. If you prefer biking, then take a ride. If eating healthier is your goal, the first tiny habit might be buying vegetables in a ready-to-eat form, such as a veggie tray, so they are easy to grab from the refrigerator. Once you choose a habit to start, such as exercising, break it down into tiny steps. Start with finding a class that fits your schedule or starting on the treadmill or walking further from the parking lot. Celebrate the good choices you make. It also helps to have a reminder for your new habit. Unhealthy behaviors are triggered by cues

and poultry versus fruits, vegetables and bread.  Tufts University Health and Wellness Letter. Recipe We all have a sweet tooth occasionally. Using fruit to tame that sweet tooth is a step toward healthier eating. Try this Fruit Crumble from Cooking Light magazine that combines fresh peaches and fresh blackberries in the slow cooker.


To make long-lasting lifestyle changes, start with small and consistent baby steps. (driving by the doughnut shop), and so are healthy habits. Knowing that your workout clothes ride next to you in the car can be a helpful cue that’s hard to ignore. Knowing there are fresh fruits and vegetables already cut up and ready to eat in the fridge makes it easier to grab those instead of a cookie. Starting a new habit isn’t all or nothing — make one small change

and build on it. Be patient with yourself. The important thing is to keep at it, even if you find yourself skipping a day here and there. Question and answer What is the best cutting board to use — wood, plastic or glass — for food safety? A chief consideration in safety of cutting boards is how easy they are to clean. Cutting boards made of a nonporous material, such as

plastic or tempered glass, can be easily washed in the dishwasher. Those made of solid, hard wood with a tight grain, such as maple, might to OK in the dishwasher but over time, that may encourage cracking and splitting. Boards made of soft wood, such as poplar or soft maple, or that are laminated, have to be hand-washed. Regardless of type, it’s best to use a separate cutting board for meat

Easiest Fruit Crumble 1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats 3⁄4 cup white whole-wheat flour 1⁄2 cup packed light brown sugar 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon 1⁄2 teaspoon ground nutmeg 1⁄2 teaspoon salt 1⁄2 cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled Cooking spray 3 pounds peaches, peeled and cut into 1-inch slices 3 cups blackberries In a large bowl, combine oats, flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt. Stir with a whisk. Add melted butter; stir until combined. Set aside 1 cup of mixture. Coat a 4 to 5-quart slow cooker with cooking spray. Place peaches, blackberries and remaining oat mixture in slow cooker; stir to combine. Sprinkle peach mixture evenly with reserved 1 cup oat mixture. Lightly coat top with cooking spray. Cook on Low for 3 hours, until fruit is bubbly and top is browned. Serves 12 (serving size: 1⁄3 cup) Per serving: 217 calories, 3 g protein, 33 g carbohydrate, 9.2 g fat, 20 mg cholesterol, 5 g fiber, 101 mg sodium.

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Magnesium miracles: Wonders of epsom salt By MARY HUNT I can recall vividly— and count on one hand — the migraine headaches I’ve had in my life, all of which were before age 10. Once I turned double digits, I outgrew them ... until a couple of months ago. With no warning at all, there I was back to my 8-year-old self, flat on my back with a raging migraine. Why now, after all these years? In reading up on the latest findings, I discovered how important magnesium is to our overall health. Turns out that 80 percent of the U.S. population suffers from magnesium deficiency causing all kinds of health issues, one of them being migraine headaches. And here’s the problem with that: Magnesium supplements are not necessarily the answer because it is not easily absorbed through the digestive tract. You could have knocked me over with a feather when I read how Epsom salt is rich in magnesium, which just happens to be easily absorbed through the skin — as in soaking in a nice warm bath. You can be sure Epsom salt soaks are now part of my routine to get regular boosts of magnesium and hopefully avoid migraines in the future. Epsom salt, also known as hydrated magnesium sulfate (not to be confused with table salt, also known as sodium chloride) is plentiful, inexpensive and available at drugstores and supermarkets everywhere, and it has dozens of other practical uses and

your face at night, mix half a teaspoon of Epsom salt with your regular cleanser. Massage into skin and rinse with cool water. ■■ Exfoliate. Massage handfuls of Epsom salt over your wet skin, starting with your feet and continuing up toward your face. Rinse in a bath or shower. Dry lips. Try giving your lips a deeper treatment using Epsom salt. Combine a few tablespoons of salt with a teaspoon of petroleum jelly (such as Vaseline). Apply and gently rub it in. The so-

lution helps remove dry skin and will leave your lips looking fuller and healthier. ■■ PEDICURE. Epsom salt’s natural exfoliating properties will help soften rough and callused skin, leaving your feet feeling spa fresh. Add 1/2 to 1 cup Epsom to the foot bath. Even if you’ve never had a migraine, do yourself a favor and research how magnesium can improve your health. I’m convinced there is something to this “miracle.”


Epsom salts provide numerous health benefits. health benefits: ■■ Sedative bath. Soak in a warm bath to soothe muscle pain and aches, and keep you feeling rejuvenated and your skin hydrated and healthy. Add 2 cups of Epsom salt to a bathtub of very warm water (double that if you have a deep soaking tub) and soak for at least 12 minutes. Treat yourself to a soak three times weekly for optimal results. ■■ Sleep aid. Because of its ability to soothe skin and relax muscles, Epsom salt can contribute to a good night’s rest. Take a nice, warm Epsom salt bath right before bed and say goodbye to insomnia. ■■ Sprains and bruises. Soaking in a warm Epsom salt bath will reduce the swelling of sprains and bruises.

■■ Foot soak. To combat swelling and soothe sore feet, add 1/2 cup Epsom salt to a gallon of lukewarm water and soak your feet for 15 minutes at the end of the day. ■■ Splinter remover. Soak in Epsom salt to draw out the splinter. It really works. ■■ Sunburn relief. Epsom salt’s anti-inflammatory properties make it a great tool for treating mild sunburn irritation. Take an empty spray bottle. Mix 2 tablespoons of Epsom salt with 1 cup of water, and then spray on the affected area. ■■ Bug bites. To help relieve common insect bites, just mix 2 tablespoons of Epsom salt with 1 cup of water; dip a cotton washcloth in the solution; and apply to the affected area. Relief ! ■■ Facial cleanser. To clean

Pros and cons of antibiotic soaps By CHRISTOPHER CROWN In director David Fincher’s 1999 film, “Fight Club,” we see a dark side to the world of soapmaking. Although current homecleaning companies might not be using character Tyler Durden’s methods, there has been a lot of controversy around the world of antibacterial soaps and their potential dangers to human health. We live in a sanitized world, says Markham Heid, a contributor for Time, and it’s possible that this rigorous scrubbing and devotion to killing all bacteria is doing more harm than good. Is it possible that we should heed Durden’s advice and “stop being perfect” — that we should “evolve (and) let the chips fall where they may”? Although there is a lot of debate on the topic of antibacterial soap, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention cuts straight through the haze and delivers a powerful message on its handwashing resource page. Citing six recent scientific studies in peer-reviewed scholarly journals, the CDC states that there are no observable benefits of using soaps containing antibacterial ingredients over using traditional soaps. Martin Blaser, director of the Human Microbiome Program at New York University, adds to this, claiming that although humans see eliminating any and all microbes as being beneficial, it is actually weakening the human race and strengthening bacterial strains. In his book “Missing Microbes: How the Overuse of Antibiotics Is Fueling Our Modern Plagues,” Blaser elaborates on this claim. Antibiotics, which many think of as just coming in pill form from the doctor, are actually any medication or ingredi-

ent that is meant to kill microbes — microscopic life-forms living all around us and in us. So yes, azithromycin from your doctor is an antibiotic, but so are hand sanitizer and your favorite citrusy dish soap. By killing all the bacteria in our lives, Blaser claims, we are weakening our internal microbiome (the host of microorganisms that help our body function) and also are artificially helping the most powerful antibiotic-resistant strains of bacteria. By killing all the weak

bacteria with a hand soap that boasts a 99 percent kill rate, you leave the strongest 1 percent alive to reproduce and multiply. This “antibiotic resistance” is called a “threat to global health security” on the World Health Organization’s website. Beyond harming human health, antibacterial soaps are also affecting the environment. Joseph Stromberg writes in the


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journal Smithsonian that the U.S. Geological Survey has found large traces of antibiotics from soaps seeping into lakes, tributaries and oceans, even after wastewater purification. Stromberg goes on to say that this form of pollution can inhibit photosynthetic function in algae — the base food source for almost all ocean food chains -- and therefore biomagnify in larger ocean species because animals higher on the food chain are exposed to dangerous levels by eating animals that have accumulated toxicity. Closer to home, however, there is a movement to restrengthen the human immune system by eliminating wanton antibiotic use. Many “hippie parents” are choosing to eliminate antibacterial products and let their children play in the dirt. On NPR in July, Lulu Garcia-Navarro reported that children need germs to strengthen their ability to fight infection. Although microbes are becoming harder to kill, the best bet seems to be to ditch antibacterial soaps, go back to basics and let our bodies coevolve against the bacteria in our lives.

By MARILYNN MARCHIONE AP Chief Medical Writer CHICAGO — For the first time, a treatment that boosts the immune system greatly improved survival in people newly diagnosed with the most common form of lung cancer. It’s the biggest win so far for immunotherapy, which has had much of its success until now in less common cancers.

In the study, Merck’s Keytruda, given with standard chemotherapy, cut in half the risk of dying or having the cancer worsen, compared to chemo alone after nearly one year. The results are expected to quickly set a new standard of care for about 70,000 patients each year in the United States whose lung cancer has already spread by the time it’s found. Another study found that an

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All of these immune therapy treatments worked for only about half of patients, but that’s far better than chemo has done in the past. Results were discussed Monday at an American Association for Cancer Research conference in Chicago and published by the New England Journal of Medicine. The studies were sponsored by the drugmakers.

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immunotherapy combo — the Bristol-Myers Squibb drugs Opdivo and Yervoy — worked better than chemo for delaying the time until cancer worsened in advanced lung cancer patients whose tumors have many gene flaws, as nearly half do. But the benefit lasted less than two months on average and it’s too soon to know if the combo improves overall survival, as Keytruda did.

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Dogs can make great running partners, but there are factors to consider before hitting the trails.

Safety 1st when running with furry friend By CHRISTOPHER CROWN Exercising the body and mind is important for everyone, including man’s best friend. Enthusiastic and full of energy, dogs can make great running partners, whether for companionship or accountability in your yearly fitness goals. But to be the best puppy parent possible, it’s important to know how healthy your dog is and the type of running that is safest for it. Your four-legged friends need daily exercise just like you do. And just like humans, American pets have a problem with pudge. According to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention, an estimated 54 percent of dogs in the U.S. are overweight or obese, which can bring about multiple health consequences, such as reduced life expectancy, chronic inflammation, orthopedic disease and kidney dysfunction. Along with a balanced diet, walking or running

together will help you both strive toward a healthier lifestyle. Your dog’s age should be taken into consideration before heading out on the trail. Don’t start too young, as running on hard surfaces can damage a puppy’s bones and joints that haven’t fully formed yet. In one 2015 Health. com article, animal behaviorist Sharon Wirant is quoted as advising dog owners to wait until their dog’s growth plates have began to close, a time frame that varies by the breed and size of the dog. On the other hand, older dogs can have some of the same boneweakening diseases as elderly humans. Mikkel Becker, resident dog trainer of VetStreet, an online pet care and training resource, notes: “Running is high-impact, cardio-intensive exercise, and unless your dog has been cleared for this activity, he can be at risk for injury. Joint problems, like hip dysplasia, luxating patellas and arthritis, can make running painful or even impossible.” Pay a

visit to your veterinarian to know when it’s safe to start or stop running with your pup. All dogs love to run, but not all of them can keep up with their owner. There’s a reason animal lovers cringe when they see a checked-out runner dragging a Pomeranian behind. So don’t assume your dog is a runner; do some research about the breed. In a piece for Runner’s World magazine online, Brian Dalek amasses the opinions of several dog experts, including a professional dog runner and the American Kennel Club, on which breeds are best. While there will be some variation within each breed and individual dogs, Weimaraners, German shorthaired pointers, vizslas, greyhounds, pit bulls and Labra-

dor retrievers make great running partners due to their build, stamina, larger stride and personality. On the contrary, squishy-nosed dogs like pugs and bulldogs are prone to overheating and therefore don’t make good distance runners. Even if your dog fits the profile of a good running buddy, use common sense and keep an eye out for signs of fatigue. A benefit of running is that you can do it just about anywhere, but surface and weather make a difference in your dog’s comfort level. There’s a difference between “can” and “should,” Becker says: Your dog can run on sidewalks and streets, but the hard surface can be tough on her body. Softer surfaces like grass and dirt are preferable. Just be

sure to look out for stones and holes and other uneven surfaces. Additionally, heat can pose a danger. Scorching pavement can burn your dog’s paws or cause dehydration. (And let’s be honest -who enjoys running in tiring heat anyway?) To avoid these predicaments, Becker suggests running early in the morning or late in the evening, and taking frequent water breaks. Being informed and attuned to your dog’s breed, condition or fatigue levels is essential to maintaining its health, especially since dogs cannot necessarily communicate clearly when they’re in distress. Err on the side of caution, and let your dog run at its own pace. Fido will be grateful for the fun shared together.



A look at benefits of coffee consumption By CHUCK NORRIS According to a recent report from the National Coffee Association, sugary drinks aren’t the only beverages of choice currently on the rebound. After four years of decline, consumption of coffee is said to be up 5 percentage points from last year. It’s nothing near the peak year of 1946, when the nation was consuming about 46.4 gallons of coffee per capita a year. Today, 64 percent of Americans now drink at least one cup a day and the United States remains the largest coffee consumer in the world. This trend is occurring despite persistent, time-honored doctor warnings that coffee might be hard on the body; that we ought to avoid coffee because it might increase the risk of heart disease, stunt growth, or even have damaging effects on the digestive tract. However, the latest scientific research is showing that coffee well may have positive effects on the body. When consumed in moderation, enjoying a cup of Joe might be one of the healthier things you can do. And coffee drinking is but one of the latest shunned practices where science is evolving in its favor. As pointed out in a recent TIME magazine report, at the heart of the coffee drinking temperance movement are studies done decades ago comparing health outcomes of coffee drinkers to nondrinkers. When measuring things like heart problems and mortality, coffee drinkers seemed to always measure worse than non-coffee drinkers in these studies. Yet these studies didn’t always counter their findings with the many other factors that could account for poor health, such as smoking and a lack of physical activity. Twenty years ago, coffee drinking was very closely associated with smoking. Many people couldn’t have one without the other; it’s possible coffee could have been getting a bad rap all these years through guilt by association. This certainly seems to be the case when you look at recent findings. Current studies show no significant link between the caffeine in coffee and heart-related issues such as high cholesterol, irregular heartbeats, stroke or heart attack.

Recent studies also show that people who drink coffee regularly may have an 11 percent lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes than non-coffee drinkers. Coffee has also proven to be high in antioxidants, which are known to fight the oxidative damage that can cause cancer. It is also believed that some of the chemicals in coffee could help reduce inflammation, which is a common factor with the onset of numerous diseases. Some evidence also suggests that coffee slows down some of the metabolic processes that drive aging. Sure, like many foods and nutrients, too much coffee can cause problems, but studies have shown that drinking up to four 8-ounce cups of coffee a day to be safe for most people. So the next time someone offers their guests a cup and some opt for a diet soda, you may want to remind folks of the latest news on coffee as well as on diet soda. As pointed out last week, an observational study published by the American Heart Association suggests that people who drink artificially-sweetened beverages showed an increased risk of developing stroke or dementia. Back pain is something that affects at least two out of three people in this country sometime in their life. If you see a doctor about the problem they are likely to suggest a number of different treatment options. Chiropractic spinal manipulation will likely not be among them. Yet, according to recent findings, for initial treatment of lower back pain, it may be time for physicians to rethink their biases against this practice. According to a recent report in the New York Times by Aaron E. Carroll, a professor of pediatrics at Indiana University School of Medicine, spinal manipulation as well as other less traditional therapies like heat, meditation and acupuncture have shown over time to be as effective as many prescriptive medical therapies and as safe, if not safer than traditional medical approaches. Though many doctors continue to be skeptical about the benefits of this form of treatment, many patients suffering with the problem clearly don’t share such concerns. A large survey conducted from 2002 through 2008 of back pain


Coffee consumption in moderation is good for your health. sufferers found that more than 30 percent sought chiropractic care. Dr. Carroll refers to evidence from 15 randomized controlled trials, which included more than 1,700 patients showing that spinal manipulation generated an improvement in pain in study participants. Spinal manipulation also resulted in improvements in function. Because they fear the potential harm of a practice they don’t clearly understand, some physicians are hesitant to refer patients to chiropractors or even physical therapists for care. Yet in all the studies mentioned, no serious adverse effects were reported. Prescription pain medications for back problems such as opioids, can lead not only to huge costs but drug abuse and addiction. The ideal approach is to treat the symptoms and let the body heal, says Dr. Carroll. Noninvasive therapies seem to do that well enough, he adds.









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Oreos to apples: Guide to raising healthy eaters By MARILYNN PRESTON Pillow fights are nothing but fun — joyful, energizing and giggle-producing. Food fights with your kids, on the other hand, are stressful, crazy-making and can result in eating disorders down the line. “No carrots, no cookies!” “Too full for broccoli but room for chocolate cake?” “OK! No dessert for you,” ad nauseum. ... “I’ve tried everything to get my kids to eat healthier,” I hear constantly from well-intentioned moms and dads who prepare tasty and nutritious foods only to see them sit there on the plate like roadkill. “Nothing seems to work.” What’s a savvy parent to do? Don’t give up. Behavior change takes the time it takes. And don’t forget that the real battle is against the billions of dollars spent by Big Food to entice your kid to eat products that aren’t really food. Those heavily advertised foodlike concoctions are packed with additives, chemicals, toxins and other suspect ingredients that do damage to your kids’ growing bodies and developing brains. Even Michelle Obama couldn’t get the fake-food industry to stop. Don’t get me started. Now for the good news. According to the fitness experts at the American Council on Exercise, there are things you can do, and shouldn’t do, to help your child evolve into a healthy eater, with-


Modeling healthy eating habits will make your kids more likely to reach for nutritious snacks. out going to war or ruining your day. But you have to have a plan. My plan today is to share some of their best guidelines and advice, starting with the hardest one of all: being a role model. 1. Model healthy eating. Food is fuel, and you’re being very fuelish if you don’t see the connection between what you personally eat, how you feel and how your kids feel about what they eat. It’s all connected and starts with what’s in your fridge and on your plate. Walk the talk, and your kids will follow your lead. 2. Eat together. Family meals,

Hand dryers may leave hands dirtier By ELI ROSENBERG WP News Service Hand dryers may leave your hands significantly more dirty than before, according to a new study. The study, the results of which were published in the journal Applied and Environmental Microbiology, found that plates exposed to 30 seconds of a bathroom hand dryer gained at least 18 to 60 colonies of bacteria, while plates exposed to bathroom air for two minutes had fewer than one. The authors concluded that the “results indicate that many kinds of bacteria, including potential pathogens and spores, can be deposited on hands exposed to bathroom hand dryers, and that spores could be dispersed throughout buildings and deposited on hands by hand dryers.” Still the study’s authors, who found that the nozzle of the dryers had minimal bacterial levels, said that more evidence was needed to determine if the dryers were bacteria harbors themselves or

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simply blew large amounts of contaminated air. It is known among those paying close attention to bathroom cleanliness — a hobby we probably wouldn’t recommend here — that bathroom air can contain fecal matter and droplets of urine. “The more air ya move? The more bacteria stick,” Lead study author Peter Setlow told Business Insider. “And there are a lot of bacteria in bathrooms.” The risk of this bacteria to the general public is not entirely clear, the majority of whom safely use shared restrooms every day, we think. Setlow, who is in his 70s, told the publication that he’s stopped using hand dryers. “If I’m a person whose immune system is suppressed, I wanna minimize my exposure to bacteria,” he said. The study noted that hand dryers with certain types of filters, called HEPA filters, could reduce the bacteria fourfold.


eaten together in a calm surrounding, better promote health than do the grab-and-eat grazing patterns of many modern families. Take a stand! Sit down together at meal times, without devices and without drama. 3. Increase exposure to healthy foods. Repetition reaps rewards. Research shows that a kid may need to be offered a healthy food as many as 20 times before saying yes. So keep serving real food at your table and don’t take it personally if it’s rejected. 4. Let them choose the portion size. This is a great tactic that em-

powers kids and helps create an awareness of internal cues. Do they feel hungry? Full? Don’t just shovel food onto their plate. Let them decide. 5. Don’t use food rewards. “Eat your cauliflower and then you can have a doughnut” is a bad strategy for raising healthy eaters. It makes kids more likely to dislike the healthy food while increasing their desire for the reward food. 6. Refuse to be a short-order cook. If your kid rejects the meal you’ve planned and asks for a junky hot dog instead, don’t give in, the experts say. It’s more work for you and does nothing to educate your little one about the benefits of wholesome food. 7. Limit television time. No one said this would be easy. TV ads promote unhealthy, sugary, processed foods. And also — think football games — watching TV promotes unconscious snacking. 8. Exploit similarities. Let’s say your child likes pumpkin, as

in pumpkin pie. Good! The next step is to expose him to a new food that is similar, but different, like mashed sweet potatoes or roasted carrots. Think bait-and-switch, but in a good way. 9. Make healthy eating fun. Kids who get involved in growing food, in gardens or in pots, enjoy doing it and begin to shift their understanding of what real food is, and where it comes from. This helps them become healthy eaters. So does exposing them to the fun of farmers markets. Let them pick out fruits and veggies that look good to them. Extra bonus points if you get them involved in including the produce in your next family meal. 10. Skip the food fights. You’re the adult. You’re in charge. If you refuse to fight about food with your kid, all the drama will go away. The Buddhists call it nonattachment. You make your best, calmest effort, and then surrender to the results.


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2018 Health & Wellness  
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